Dear diet industry,
You think you’re pretty smart, don’t you?
I mean, you’ve fooled millions — maybe hundreds of millions of people around the world into thinking they need you.
But you don’t fool us. Not anymore.
And we’re making it our mission to tell the world all about you.
Because the truth is, you’re nothing but a corrupt and heartless industry more interested in making obscene amounts of money than helping people.
We know that currently, the global market for health and weight management is worth $166.3 billion. We also know that over the next 5 years, that’s expected to grow to $259.1 billion.
If you were actually doing some good for people, then maybe that would be okay. But the truth is you’re making this money at the expense of the people you claim to help. You profit from people’s insecurities, convincing them that they have to shrink their bodies to be happy, to feel worthy.
After you’ve made us feel that we’re not good enough because of the body we inhabit, your solution is to sell us dodgy products and programs that have been scientifically proven NOT TO WORK. Despite the overwhelming evidence that 98% of all dieters gain back all the weight they lose PLUS more, you continue to peddle ‘solutions’ that you know only create more problems for us.
What’s even more disgusting than you blatantly ignoring science, and knowingly selling faulty products, is that you point the finger at us, and tell us it’s our fault we can’t lose weight.
That’s right. You sell us something you know won’t give us the results we crave, and then blame us when it doesn’t work.
Because we’re not disciplined.
We’re not good enough.
We didn’t diet correctly.
We have no self-control.
We’re not motivated enough.
We’re a lost cause.
And then, after putting us down and making us feel a little more shit about who we are because we failed to lose weight, you present another solution that promises to work. Only you know that won’t work either, will it?
But you know we’ll buy it because you perpetuate the very culture that makes us feel we’re nothing without it.
Why do we even need to diet?
The idea of restricting food intake to lose weight is a relatively new concept. Throughout history, getting enough food was often the problem and being plump signified prosperity and wellbeing. Having excess fat on the body equated to higher social status, greater fertility and a better chance of surviving famine and disease. Meanwhile, thinness (the ideal that you promote today), signified poverty and death.
So how did this change?
The seeds of diet culture were actually planted in Ancient Rome and Greece. Moderation and balance were seen as virtues and any level of excess was considered to be a flaw that needed to be corrected. (Sound familiar?) When it came to eating, overindulgence was seen as a moral failing and carrying excess weight was viewed as a symbol of moral corruption. Do you even know that the Latin word obesis (the root for the word obesity), was coined in that period? It meant ‘to eat until fat’.
In addition, ancient Greek physicians believed that carrying excess weight was a sign of a malformed spirit and an imbalance that needed to be corrected through special eating and exercise practices. Hippocrates, who is considered to be the father of western medicine, popularised this belief, as well as the idea that being overweight was a disease, even though being overweight still symbolised status, and wealth.
The word ‘diet’ actually comes from the Greek word dieta which was used in ancient medical texts to refer to eating, drinking, exercising, bathing and sexual practices. The origins of the word ‘diet’ mean ‘regimen’ – a system of rules governing behaviour. Ancient Greek doctors believed that anyone who didn’t follow the special rules that were supposed to improve a person’s constitution, were intellectually and morally inferior.
So right from the start, the term ‘diet’ was bound up in ideas about morality, restriction, giving up pleasure and the superiority of certain groups of people.
This belief of superiority was evident when the Spanish conquistadors began colonising the United States. They believed that they needed to eat the ‘right’ foods, (especially European foods) in order for them not to get sick. They also believed that the reason they looked different to (and better than) the indigenous population was due to what they ate. So in order to maintain their superiority over the indigenous occupants, they avoided the ‘bad’ local foods and ate only the ‘good’ European foods.
The ideas of ‘good and bad foods’ and ‘correct ways’ of eating began to merge and gain popularity, and diet culture as we know it, was born in 19th Century USA.
You perpetuate a culture obsessed with body image so you can make money
It’s interesting to see how cultural beliefs can change over time, isn’t it?
But you, diet industry, make sure that our beliefs about worthiness, morality and attractiveness are directly tied to our weight. Only now, the larger we are the less attractive we are.
You love that we feel weak, unattractive and unworthy because it means you’re better able to manipulate us and convince us that you are the solution to our problem.
Oh, but you are sneaky, because our problem is perpetuated by YOU.
We know that diet culture equates thinness, muscularity and certain body shapes with health and moral virtue. We know that you promote weight loss as a way to attain higher status, or to guarantee that we’ll be loved. And we know that this culture that you foster oppresses people who don’t fit your impossible ideals.
This insidious culture that you continue to promote is so embedded into our society that many find it hard to recognise.
But we know.
You masquerade in the form of health, wellness and fitness, cleverly re-packaging, re-naming and re-marketing all your dodgy diets that never worked, in a bid to fool new generations of people. Instead of promoting diets, you now promote the idea of healthy lifestyles, clean eating, mindful eating, or whatever is deemed to be the next fad that you wish to sell.
But we know that despite their seemingly harmless names, they’re still part of diet culture, designed to keep us chasing after an elusive ideal so we can feel that we belong, that we’re good enough, that we’re someone, despite the physical and mental damage they do.
You make us feel guilty
You’re pretty good at making us feel guilty. Did you know that?
Of course, you do. If none of us felt guilty about what we ate, then we wouldn’t need to atone for our sins by going on another one of your bloody ridiculous diets.
You make us feel guilty for eating cake — even though it’s our birthday.
You make us feel guilty for eating chocolate — even though it’s Easter.
You make us feel guilty for eating any kind of carb — even on Christmas Day
You make us feel guilty for eating ice-cream — even when we’re on holidays.
You make us feel guilty when we don’t eat bland, diet food.
You make us feel guilty when we eat out, enjoy our food, and celebrate with friends.
You’ve done such a good job of it, that many of us are afraid to eat at all.
And many of us, have developed disordered eating or full-blown eating disorders as a result of the guilt we feel around food — something that is necessary for our very own survival.
You’ve created eating disorders
By promoting this unrealistic ideal of body image, you have single-handedly created eating disorders and disordered eating patterns in millions of people around the world. Maybe even hundreds of millions of people.
The pressure you put on us is immense and many of us have buckled under the pressure, resorting to all kinds of behaviours to lose weight — fasting, restrained eating, restricting food groups, fad diets, juice cleanses, detoxes, weight loss pills, laxatives or even forcing ourselves to vomit after eating.
What the actual hell?
Along with the food restriction is the bingeing — because whenever there is restriction, there is always bingeing. Not because we’re weak, but because it’s our body’s way of making sure we’re not starving ourselves to death. Are you even aware that this is a physiological response? Or are you so quick to blame us for everything, that binge eating is more evidence of our inherent weakness?
And of course, you make sure to let us know that most of the time, we don’t measure up to your lofty, unrealistic standards.
You make us feel unworthy and unhappy
Because of you, most of us feel unworthy. We feel inferior, weak, undisciplined, invisible, pathetic, ugly, and horrific. You make us feel that we have no business taking up space on the planet. That the less space we take up the more valuable we are.
Because of you, diet industry, we have lost our confidence and our self-esteem. We’re afraid to be seen as we are, in case we’re judged as you judge us — lazy, unmotivated, stupid.
Because of you, diet industry we’ve learned to be highly critical of ourselves because we don’t measure up to the photoshopped ideals that you tell us we need to strive for. Because of you, we’ve learned to hide — hide our talents, our personalities, hide our bodies.
Because of you, diet industry we’re desperately unhappy with who we are and what we look like.
Thanks for that.
You steal our money
As well as stealing our dignity and self-worth, you continue to steal our money.
Collectively, we’ve spent millions of dollars on diets, diet products and programs that didn’t work. We actually paid money to be left in worse shape physically and mentally, than we were before we started dieting.
And then you turn around and blame us for not being good enough or motivated enough or strict enough to lose weight. Like it’s our fault that your shitty product didn’t work.
Any other decent business, would refund our money and apologise. Hell, they may even try to come up with a solution that actually works. But not you! Oh no. You keep taking our money, stealing our money, and then tell us that we are to blame.
You steal our lives
However, the worst thing that you have stolen from us are our lives. Many of us have lost years, even decades through dieting and disordered eating.
You’ve made us skip birthday parties, Christmas parties and anniversary celebrations – out of fear that we have to eat cake or drink champagne.
We’ve never been fully present at weddings, funerals, graduations, honeymoons, and countless other important milestones because you make us feel so self-conscious about what we weigh and what we look like.
Thoughts of food and our weight consumed us and instead of enjoying the moment and company, we were busy wrestling with our shapewear, and calculating how many calories we’d already consumed that day to work out how many we were ‘allowed’ to eat at this special event.
Instead of looking forward to those special nights out, or our summer holidays, we spent weeks, maybe even months living in dread, stressing out about what we would wear that wouldn’t show off the extra roll of fat we had around our waist — because that would be the worst thing ever. Instead of being excited, we sat at home, thinking of a myriad of excuses as to why we couldn’t go — because we were so humiliated by our weight and our body.
Our kids missed out on years of fun with us, because we were too afraid to put on our bathers and go swimming with them, or too embarrassed to play in the park.
And we missed out on life. Instead of enjoying what life had to offer, we were so obsessed with the flaws in our imperfect bodies, that we couldn’t even see the unique beauty in ourselves, let alone the fact that there was actually nothing wrong with our bodies.
We’ve spent decades beating ourselves up for not looking like the images in your magazines and in doing so, have lost precious time that we can never get back.
You make us overweight
You know the most ironic thing of all? The thing that makes absolutely no sense?
You diet industry, are contributing the so-called ‘obesity epidemic’.
Because dieting actually causes weight gain.
Your diets, weight loss programs and quick-fixes are actually causing us to gain weight — the very opposite of what you claim you can do for us.
Statistics show that as many as two-thirds of people who embark on a diet end up gaining more weight than they lose. In the long-run, your crappy products take people in the opposite direction they think they’re going.
You suck, diet industry.
You really suck.
And we’re going to do everything we can, to ensure people understand how dangerous, sneaky and damaging you really are.
That you are not a solution.
You are the problem.
One of the biggest problems.
Because you only leave people feeling worse off than when they found you.
That’s why we created the Diet Antidote Transformation System (DATS™️ Program), the Not-Diet Diet for people who are sick of diets and want more than a good body.
Because at the end of the day, when all the diets fail — as we know they will — we’re the ones that people come to.